Besides the powerful reoccurring cramp in my leg things are quite nice right now. Nikki, Mike and I just ate fish and chips with fresh caught cod and a piece of pie made from a local berry I’ve never heard of before. Life is good in southern Labrador Canada.
We spent ten days in Aasiaat, Greenland getting ready to make the crossing to Canada. Every day I woke up, checked the weather, worked on the boat all day, checked the weather and went to bed. The boat didn’t have any major problems, just little repairs here and there. What was broke, like a door knob for the pilot house or the engine heater, I had Mike bring with him. By the time we left Aasiaat I had fixed all the issues, replaced any broken parts and gave the engine a tune up. The boat was ready; all we needed was a weather window.
Not just was I obsessing over weather patterns daily but I also paid a group of meteorologists to tell me when they thought we should make the passage across the Labrador Sea to Canada. We had our window on the 18th, time to go south!
For the first five days the winds were very light and we had to motor nearly the entire time. I get tired of hearing the engine but I’d rather have flat calm seas than giant waves. We only saw two icebergs south of Aasiaat, one was a good mile away but the other we passed right by. I wanted Mike to see an iceberg and I knew this would most likely be the last one we saw in the Arctic so we motored up to it so Mike could get a good look. We also celebrated our final Arctic iceberg with a glass of whiskey; the ice for our drinks had just fallen off the berg. Glacial ice cracks and pops in your glass releasing air that’s been trapped in the ice for 1,000 years. It makes for an awesome drink!
It was cold enough that instead of rain we had sleet and snow showers, another sign that’s time to go south. But because we had a new engine heater and the engine was on all the time we were warm and dry inside our pilot house. The cold air also helped to increase the northern lights. Every night for the first 400 miles we had an incredible display of the aura borealis. One night there were ribbons of dancing light all around us, (for lack of better diction) it was trippy. Although the light winds made it peaceful in the ocean, we needed some wind because we didn’t have enough fuel to motor 1,000 miles south to Canada.
The winds picked up 15-20kts out of the north for the last five days. This is the epitome of fair winds and following seas. The winds brought clouds and near constant light rain, the pilot house keeps us out of the elements so we hardly noticed the rain. It was smooth sailing all the way to Cartwright, Canada. Once we got to Cartwright the clouds left and we had 3 days of beautiful sunny weather.
Cartwright is a small town of 500 in Southern Labrador, it has everything you could ask for; a free seawall to tie off to, a grocery store, a fuel truck and a bar. It also had free laundry a free shower and free wifi. After Greenland where you have to pay a premium for everything it was like hitting the jackpot.
The people of Cartwright were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Everyone waved and smiled, people would bend over backwards to help you. One guy named Garfield drove us around in his truck up and down bumpy dirt roads so he we could “see the sights”. “The sights” were a few overlooks on top of the hills where we could look out on the water, it was very pretty. Even better were the trees! We haven’t seen a tree since May. There is something about a big tree that I just love. Greenland is so barren, its adds to its desolate beauty, but I miss trees. The leaves on the birch trees had turned yellow, they were mixed in with the pines; it was so nice to see.
We left Cartwright and were making our way to Belle Strait (the strait just north of Newfoundland) when the engine started giving us trouble. We couldn’t get more than 1,500 rpms (normally you can get 3,000) and black smoke was pouring out of the exhaust. Only three things can do that to a diesel, bad fuel, bad injectors or a clogged air filter. I thought it was the fuel or injectors, Nikki thought it was the air filter. Nikki was right, I cleaned the air filter and now she runs like she’s brand new. There are always new problems on a sailboat, it never ends. Luckily this was an easy problem to fix.
We were nearly out of Belle Strait and into the Gulf of St Lawrence when the wind and current both turned on our nose. The winds and current will switch to a favorable direction in 5-6 hours so we stopped at a small town of 80 people that had a dock and a restaurant with free wifi. We just ate a nice meal and desert and in a few hours we will push off the dock and continue on our way. Next stop Sydney Nova Scotia.